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Does having a degree in Engineering mean you are a Engineer

  1. Jul 22, 2007 #1
    does having a degree in Physics mean you are a Physicist?

    does having a degree in Math mean you are a Mathematician?

    does having a degree in Engineering mean you are a Engineer?

    I personally don't think a degree gives you a title. I think your position at a company and the work you do gives you a title.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 22, 2007 #2


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    That's wrong also. You can work at a grocery store and still be an engineer, physicists or mathematician.

    I plan on becoming a mathematician, but I don't plan on working in academia. Does that mean I'll never become a mathematician? No.

    To be an engineer in my opinion, you need the accredidation.

    To be a mathematician in my opinion, need atleast a Master's but preferably a Ph.D.

    To be a physicists, I have no idea. Is there accredidations for this? I would be more flexible in this field.
  4. Jul 22, 2007 #3


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    I think if you have formal training in a discipline, and undertake work (paid or unpaid) in that discipline, then you are justified in using the title.
  5. Jul 22, 2007 #4
    what makes a engineer need accreditation, I have 3 relatives whom are now in there late 50's and never went to college, 2 didn't graduate from high school. Started out all in different companies GM, Cisco and Eaton at lower end entry level jobs. Now after many promotions after many years all 3 of them are titled as Engineers by those respected companies and they have no college degree. They all deal with the specific design and development that a usually engineer would. They taught themselves all the math, physics, statics and everything, or they picked it up along the way. my uncle who works for cisco, is even in charge of HR for new engineers for there Wireless sensor network research department.

    So are they not engineers?, even though they have been working as one for more than 15 years each, with the title of engineer.

    and they are not technologists either, they all do developmental and research work for there companies
  6. Jul 22, 2007 #5
    I have a MS degree in Physics, but I do software development work. I don't think it would be fair to call me a physicist :)
  7. Jul 22, 2007 #6
    Law prohibits engineers to sign on engineering documents if they don't pass the PE (Professional Engineer) test. The PE test is the second of two tests engineers have to take. Anything has to be signed by a PE in the end and if anything fails, the PE who signed it is responsible for it by law. So, legally you are not an "Engineer" unless you pass that test. The qualifications for the test include a degree in engineering.


    As far as I know, there's nothing that will legally qualify you to be a mathematician or a physicist and I really think you can be either of these or even an engineer without a degree. However, the PE test is needed for anyone to be viewed as an engineer by law.
  8. Jul 22, 2007 #7
    yeah but the majority of EE, CSE students will never get the license. are they all not engineers.
  9. Jul 22, 2007 #8


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    I beg to differ.
  10. Jul 22, 2007 #9
  11. Jul 22, 2007 #10
    It is completely fallacious to think that a degree makes you anything. A degree is just a means of acquiring knowledge; there are many others. It's also completely false to think the only way to acquire a professional title is to be well... a professional. The prime example is the title of philosopher. Does a philosopher need a degree or a job (some say that a philosopher needs to not have job, but I won't go there)?
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2007
  12. Jul 22, 2007 #11
    A degree is a title, nothing more. Einstein did not have PhD when he came up with his Relativity theory, but he's more of a physicist than some people who do have that PhD.
  13. Jul 22, 2007 #12
    Einstein did have a PhD when he came up with SR.
  14. Jul 23, 2007 #13

    Ivan Seeking

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    As I was finishing up my BS, the head of the physics department asked me what I'm going to do now that I'm a physicist. However, whenever I mention my degree in a professional setting, I always specify that I am a graduate physicist since that's the term preferred by my insurance company. :biggrin:

    The definition of physicist usually goes as: A specialist or expert in physics. I think any physics grad qualifies as a specialist in physics.

    There are engineers, professional engineers, and certified professional engineers who can use a PE stamp. And considering that the language has become loose to the point of absurdity - even garbage collectors are called sanitation engineers :rolleyes: - I would think that every engineering grad certainly qualifies for the title of "Engineer"; or even "Real Engineer"!
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2007
  15. Jul 23, 2007 #14


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    It's the way of thinking which makes you an engineer, nothing else.

    But, of course, without a diploma, noone will take you seriously. :tongue:
  16. Jul 23, 2007 #15


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    In the UK, you can join a professional body; such as, the IEEE (http://www.ieee.org.uk/) for EE&E.

    There are similar ones for Chem Eng (IChemE) etc.

    These require the taking of degree courses at accredited universities.

    See you for more general professional bodies: http://www.hero.ac.uk/uk/reference_and_subject_resources/groups_and_organisations/professional_bodies3790.cfm#E [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  17. Jul 23, 2007 #16
    WOW, are you like an actuary or somethin' ? :approve:

    I KNEW IT ! You have always struck me as someone who could be rich. Don't ask me why, though.

  18. Jul 23, 2007 #17


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    IMO, it is the combination of education and the position/work one is in/doing. If I left my current job and went into baking cakes, I would not consider myself an engineer any longer. I would say that I had an engineering education though.
  19. Jul 23, 2007 #18

    Ivan Seeking

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    I do engineering and consulting for industry. Since it is important that I don't misrepresent myself, the clarification of title was required for PE&E [professional errors and omissions] and general liability insurance, and must be used when applicable for contracts. The insurance agent said that "physics guy" wouldn't work. :rolleyes: Graduate physicist was the preferred option.

    As for money, the good years are really good, and the bad years are really bad. :biggrin:

    1. engineering engineering professional: somebody who is trained as a professional engineer

    • noun 1 a person qualified in engineering

    b : a person who is trained in or follows as a profession a branch of engineering

    1 a person whose job is to design or build machines, engines or electrical equipment, or things such as roads, railways or bridges, using scientific principles:

    . one who is trained in the use or design of machines or engines, or in other areas such as electrical or chemical technology

    1. One who is trained or professionally engaged in a branch of engineering.

    a person trained and skilled in the design, construction, and use of engines or machines, or in any of various branches of engineering: a mechanical engineer; a civil engineer.

    . A person skilled in the principles and practice of any branch of engineering
    http://machaut.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/WEBSTER.sh?WORD=engineer [Broken]

    Seems to be all but unanimous.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  20. Jul 27, 2007 #19
    If you do the 4-5 years of self-inflicted torture working on your B.S. in engineering, watching 60%+ of the people you started with drop the program, studying or working in the lab while you friends are partying, staying up till 4am for some weeks every night, knowing that when you go to sleep at night you will equations and diagrams floating about in your dreams, and giving up your command of the English language for a command of numbers.

    You deserved to be called an engineer in my book.
  21. Jul 27, 2007 #20
    I gave it a big fat *NO*. You have to work in the field to earn the title of an "Engineer." If I work at McDonalds with my Engineering Degree, it would be insulting to consider myself an 'Engineer'.
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